|About Johannes Nagel |
There is a sense of provisionality about the works of ceramicist Johannes Nagel – we know they are finished because they are glazed, fired, and presented, but they allow for continued questioning of the concept of the vessel – what it signifies, what memories of other objects it evokes, the deep conventions of the ceramic discipline. Nagel has the agility to work in accretive and reductive ways: his vessels may be thrown, built, collaged, or cast in moulds excavated in sand.
Nagel embraces the lo-tech of the sand-cast, using no tools and limiting his forms to those possible through the use of his hands, together and separately. The basis of thrown ceramics is the rotational form, around a central axis. Once throwing is abandoned for other techniques, there is no need to adhere to the rotational, but the artist acknowledges the convention of the vessel by using rotation even in his cast works. He hand-gouges spaces in a loose material, imperfectly describing an orbit, before lining the void with liquid porcelain. He describes this improvised technique - direct, informed, intuitive - and the relationship between the imagined form and the result, as “sculptural unsharpness”.
Johannes Nagel's work is part of the permanent collection of the Victoria & Albert museum.